During President Obama’s first term, there were reports that he considered apologizing to Japan for the U.S. decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. The White House denied it.
On Friday, however, Mr. Obama will visit Hiroshima, becoming the first sitting president to tour the bombing site. And while the White House still says he will not apologize, he doesn’t really need to. He’s done enough apologizing over the past nearly eight years to cover a multitude of U.S. “sins.”
Publicly, Japan and the United States have sold the visit as an affirmation of the alliance. But apologies on both sides — whether formally delivered or not — are the backdrop (despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans believe the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end and saved countless American and Japanese lives). As one U.S. official put it, “Part of the subtext is telling this and future Japanese leaders that ‘If I can go to Hiroshima and take flak for it at home, you can certainly do a little more to own up to what Japan did.’ “
In Vietnam earlier this week, he did not outright apologize for the war but did acknowledge American “mistakes,” adding, “We correct course and you know, take different steps.”
The left has long held that America should be in a constant state of penitence for past global injustices. Mr. Obama offered explicit apologies as a powerful symbol of the New American Humility, sorry for the multi-century ruckus we’ve caused.
Early on, Mr. Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor, perhaps a signal to Tokyo that an eventual trip to Hiroshima was a priority. Mr. Obama also bowed to Saudi King Abdullah. These acts were graphic representation of the moral and power equivalence he was cultivating — as well as of the American decline he was accelerating.
In 2008, before he had even locked up his party’s nomination, Mr. Obama gave a speech in Berlin, during which he got the apology ball rolling: “I know my country has struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.”
Once he entered office, he jacked up the apologies.
He told the French that the United States had failed “to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world” and that we’d displayed “arrogance” and been “dismissive” and “derisive.”
He told the Germans that “the [economic] crisis began in the U.S. I take responsibility, even if I wasn’t even president at the time.” This was a way of appearing to accept responsibility while really placing it elsewhere.
He appeared on Al Arabiya television and flatly declared that America “dictates” without considering “all the factors involved.” He continued, “Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.”
At the Summit of the Americas, he said that the United States had been “dictatorial” but pledged “that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and no junior partner in our relations.” Then, after listening quietly to anti-American Marxist thugs like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega bash the United States, Mr. Obama asked all of Latin America for forgiveness for failing to carry out “sustained engagement with our neighbors.”
In Prague, he declared that America had “a moral responsibility to act” on arms control because we were the only nation that had ever “used a nuclear weapon.”
In Cairo, Mr. Obama legitimized Muslim grievances against the United States, suggested that the war in Iraq was an unjustified act of aggression by the U.S., apologized for the CIA’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran, and invoked “resistance” as a euphemism for Palestinian terror.
In Turkey, he blamed the United States for the “strain” in “many places where the Muslim faith is practiced.” He went on to ask for Islamic absolution of America’s sins.
After the successful drone strike that had killed American-born Islamic terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, Team Obama called the family of Samir Khan, a top al Qaeda propagandist who was also killed in the attack — to apologize.
Other Obama administration officials carried out their own apology tours.
In China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States must take responsibility for being the top emitter of greenhouse gases. In Indonesia, she said that our policy of sanctions against Myanmar had failed. In Mexico, she declared that it was America’s big appetite for drugs that was largely driving the narcotics-related violence there.
One of her top lieutenants, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, told the professional human rights violators in the Chinese government not to worry about their human rights record because ours was just as bad.
With apologies all around, the stage was set for the building of Mr. Obama’s vision of a new world order, in which the United States would relinquish world leadership to anti-American “global institutions” and see to it that the traditionally solid relationships with allies and clear-eyed approaches to enemies were shattered.
Whether or not he officially apologizes at Hiroshima, by his presence he has made his point: America’s crimes make it unfit for global leadership. The lasting damage of this grotesquely immoral posture may be incalculable.
• Monica Crowley is editor of online opinion at The Washington Times.
Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.